February 12, 2008

This Ain’t Yo’ Momma’s Wine 101!! The Philosophy of Combatting Swirl Envy.

We get a lot of questions asking about our special (that means “different”) type of wine classes.

Well, this ain’t yo’ Momma’s Wine 101.

In fact, except for educating the palate, there’s very little about actual wine that’s talked about. It’s all about progressing from rank neophyte to wine snob.

Let me tell you a little about my history.

For nearly twenty years, I have been doing some sort of adult training, education, and instruction. Nearly all of this experience has been in the Information Technology (computer) field. Hey, I know DOS!

When I first came to Las Vegas 14 years ago this month, I was the new kid on the block. That meant that I got the, um, “less than desirable” teaching assignments. And I enthusiastically made them my own.

One of my favorite courses was called “PC Basics.” I loved this class because I was able to take folks who were completely clueless about computers and turn them into PC whiz kids. So what was it about this class that made it so special? After all, there were lots of classes on Word Processing, Spreadsheets, How to Create Graphics, How to Use an Email System, blah blah blah. My place in this schema was simple: how can you create a spreadsheet if you don’t even know how to turn on a computer? If you don’t know what the buttons on a mouse mean or how to hold it, then the concept of “point and click” is meaningless. So I took my students by the hand (figuratively speaking), and led them into the fascinating world of bits and bytes. And made fanatics of nearly all of them.

I took that same philosophy into the world of wine. How can the concepts of regions, varietals, and terroir make sense if you can’t correctly hold a wine glass? What good is a restaurant wine list going to do for you if the language makes no sense? And, most importantly, how can you look cool among a bunch of wine snobs?

That’s where Vegas Wineaux and Combatting Swirl Envy come in! We take you through the very basics of wine … it is even *pre* Wine 101! It’s all about understanding less than the basics so that the most elementary of wine classes makes sense. I assist students in sharpening their observation skills, honing their wine drinking skills, and learning how to understand and conduct themselves during a wine tasting – whether it’s at a store, an event (think UNLVino), or a winery. In other words, they are so comfortable with the very basics that they are more than ready to really learn about wines and to kick their skills up notches unknown by mankind. (thanks, Emeril). They are also more at ease in their own familiarity of setting up their home wine collections and sharing their wines with (sometimes better wine-educated) friends.

So how has this helped them? I’ve made many of them into wine fanatics just as I made my PC folks into computer geeks! They can’t wait to get into the next level of wine classes! What’s even more fun is that they scoff at those people on TV and in the movies who don’t even “get” basic wine tasting etiquette. (“He gets paid millions of dollars and can’t even hold a damn glass right!”) Love it!

Are the Combatting Swirl Envy classes working? You bet!

So what’s in the future for Vegas Wineaux? Look for Combatting Swirl Envy classes on both sides of the Valley, especially as the weather warms up and we look forward to summer sipping. Wine-free wine classes are also in development for those who want to learn about wine etiquette but don't want to drink wines. My students are learning enough to be able to pour and speak knowledgeably about wines, which several of them will be doing at an upcoming volunteer event. Yes, they have their TAM cards! The first Vegas Wineaux Paso Robles Experience is being planned for this summer. Very special and different Vegas Wineaux Gear™ is being readied for sale on the website. Whew! And there’s more, which we’ll share with you as the planning and negotiations progress. It’s all very exciting and fun!

I hope that you are enjoying our newest venture to serve the readers of the Blog and other wine folks: our new newsletter! While the Blog keeps you up to date on what’s going on in Vegas and with Vegas Wineaux, the newsletter shares bits and pieces of “real time” news and detailed tasting notes.

Enjoy it all! I’m so happy to see that the subscriber list is growing and that many of you are dropping wonderful notes and emails of encouragement and enthusiasm. Stay with us and watch us as we grow!

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